A core collection has been identified for West African yams.
A DNA study of almost a thousand wild and domestic cats from around the world is helping to unravel the evolutionary history of this most numerous of household pets. There are five wild subspecies of nearest-relatives, including one in the Near East, from which all domesticated cats are derived, though there has been subsequent hybridization of house cats with local wild populations here and there. Modern cat breeds can trace their origin to at least five mothers domesticated in the Fertile Crescent around the same time as agriculture started, over 9,000 years ago. And, coincidentally, there’s news also today of archaeological evidence from nearby CyprusÂ backing up that date.
The wild relative might offer some additional options to rooibos tea farmers in South Africa as climate change hits.
Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits reintroduced into their native habitat in the state of Washington are finally breeding, raising hopes that this endangered species will recover. Ok, so as wild relatives of a domesticated species go, this one is a fairly remote one, but who knew that “the domestic Oryctolagus cuniculus is believed to have originated in French monasteries in the late first millennium?”
There was much talk a couple of years back about re-wilding – a suggestion toÂ establish a plausible facsimile ofÂ the Pleistocene fauna of North America by introducing carnivore and herbivore species (including wild relatives of livestock) from Africa and elsewhere to the Great Plains. But perhaps Europe might be a better candidateÂ for this kind of thing.